Two years ago, Viji Srinivasan died and women homebased workers lost a powerful champion and a dear friend.
Viji dedicated her life to working for poor women workers, particularly those in Bihar and Jharkhand, where she set up Adithi in 1988. At that time, many people saw Bihar as a criminal state, where it was too dangerous to organise, especially poor rural women. But Viji was determined to go ahead and by the time of her death, Adithi reached out to many thousands of women and girls in villages all over the two states of India.
Viji worked tirelessly against all forms of oppression and violence. She liked to speak directly with women, sitting on the floor with them, hearing the stories of their lives; she sympathised with their sorrows and joys, but most of all she inspired them to stand up for themselves, to speak out and work together to bring about change.
Viji travelled all over India. In the years before her death, she spent a lot of time in Tamilnadu, working with Read Foundation and Pasumai Federation in Pudukkottai. She was HWW coordinator in South Asia but worked with many different organisations, networks and individuals when she thought that this would benefit poor women.
Wherever she went, Viji talked to women about their lives. She was impatient with bureaucracy and long speeches and liked to speak directly, with humour and hope. As a result, thousands of women, not only in India but in many other countries, felt that they had lost a personal friend, as well as a powerful fighter.
The best tribute to Viji is to continue her work; to find ways round the many difficulties, obstacles and disagreements in our way; to build a powerful movement for social justice and change, particularly for working women all over the world.
[italic]HWW has compiled a short video about Viji Srinivasan. Contact us for more information on firstname.lastname@example.org[/italic]